I will be holding a science based talk on weight loss at the Skeptics in the Pub Hamburg. 26th of October 2016 at 19:30. More details here.
I have been asked a lot where I got my facts and science while loosing 18kg in three months. Most of my inspiration started from listening to Penn Jillette on his Sunday School podcast. But the meat (pun intended) of the science was provided by Penn’s weight loss guru Ray Cronise. Ray might not be 100% science based and he admits to it himself. Most of weight loss is a bit woo woo even within scientific circles. To top up my facts I read the following books, but keeping a skeptical mindset.
I like Kessler because his hypothesis that we have changed our eating habits due to marketing and social pressures. Well researched and mostly science based.
Basically Cronise copied Fuhrman 1 to 1. A bit too new age for my taste but still enough science to warrant reading. Most important is the way Fuhrman approaches weight loss.
Physics of weight loss. Austrian author, very scientific. Way to little psychology to be a real weight loss how to book. Will start you off on why eating less is more effective that doing more sport.
I recommend Tim’s book to those who do not like to read. I know, I know. How deprecating of me. But I do have a lot of friends in this category. Lots of motivation, less science. Still, most of the tips can be supported by science.
Most studies around dieting show a strong tendency of those on a diet to gain back their weight after reaching their target weight. What is not well controlled in those studies is the real change of eating habits. The graph on the right shows my weight loss at two separate points. The first was our first vacation after I started dieting. I did not stop my new diet during the vacation, to the unhappiness of my wife. As can be seen, no weight was gained. The second point was a vacation in the USA where it was much more difficult to keep from over-eating. Weight gain was part of it.
Where was the difference? The first vacation was strictly vegetarian, sometimes pescetarian. The second I was calorie counting, but had fat, processed wheat and sugar in my meals. This just showed that most of the science behind The End of Overeating by Kessler is right. Yo-Yo does not have to be your fate. All required is sticking with the new way of eating:
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. – Michael Pollan
This might not be news to you, but it was to me. I had heard that alcohol was kind of like a sugar, but never thought much of it. Adding my drinks to MyFittnessPal showed me how important it is to quit drinking while on diet. Here a few of the drinks, each as a 0,5l beverage at 1,700 kcal basic metabolic rate:
Beer: 215 kcal (13% of daily allowance)
Alkopop: 340 kcal (20% of daily allowance)
Red Wine: 335 kcal (20% of daily allowance)
Sparkling: 400kcal (24% of daily allowance)
Vodka: 1075 kcal (63% of daily allowance)
Gin-Tonic: 350 kcal (21% of daily allowance)
Germans drink 9,7l of pure alcohol per year – 7% of their daily requirement
I don’t intend to stop drinking altogether. I love the social glue it provides a geek. All I now know is that I should moderate both the type als well as the amount.
I am breaking one of the most important rules of my weight loss program. Ray Cronise popularized the rule: The most important rule of Diet Club is don’t talk about Diet Club. It sounds against one’s instinct and intuition. It even seems to contradict some scientific studies that seemed to show that telling your friends that you will loose weight would keep you honest. But that’s not correct. Telling friends and family does the oposite. Although well intentioned, your friends will keep you from completing your goal. First they will give you instant gratification by praising your new goal. This is shown to keep you from achieving it, as your brain will now be happy without having to do the hard work. Even if you could keep that from influencing you, your friends and family will actively or passively make it hard for you to diet. As soon as you tell them, they will want to know why? How? How long? Why again? All this will erode your willpower. My advice: keep your dieting plans to yourself.